Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Just dropping in

In Newfoundland, and I suspect in most places that cannot brag of having "world- class cities',  dropping in on people is a common way to spend a day.   Particularly on holidays.  Boxing Day is the biggest dropping in day of all, but any holiday will do.  There is no organization - nobody expects you to declare your self a dropper-inner or stay-at-homer.  It just happens that way.

It does not happen that way in Edmonton.  Visits are organized.  Houses are cleaned.  Wine is purchased.  Meals are planned.  Nerves are frayed.

This week, faced with four whole days off, we decided to drop in on a couple of people.  Just to see how it would go.  Our first attempt started off on a discouraging note.  I was a bit apprehensive.  You don't just show up at someone's house.  Do you?  Doesn't it assume a lot?  Her car was parked at the curb, and her back windows were wide open.  In her part of the city, you don't leave your ground floor windows open to the world.  So I figured she was home; but no answer.  We hung around a bit, admiring the garden, not wanting to admit defeat on our first drop in attempt.  As we crossed the street back though, a voice called from the upstairs - Annie!!

My friend, being a sensible woman, heard the doorbell and figured we were the JW.  Who else would show up unannounced?  Dean set off for the nearby liquor store (where the proprieter came to the window and held up their full selection of three different Australian reds) and we landed in the back garden for a lovely visit with a good friend.

The house was not cleaned. We didn't fuss over the wine selection! And there were no frayed nerves.

Drop in on me any time folks.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Wild Geese 

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
© Mary Oliver.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Paris, 2010!

Brandade de Morue (hot salt cod 'paté') at Le Balbuzard - yum!
So far this trip has been absolutely jam packed.  Day one, after arriving at 8:45 in the morning, we headed straight for a brasserie where I had brandade de morue (this is the perfect breakfast food after a trans-continental, trans-oceanic flight).  Dean had cous cous and is still suffering order envy.  The brandade as hot and salty and, of course, came with loads of bread and butter.  For dinner we went somewhere else but I honestly can't remember where...such is the reality of jet lag.  But I do remember the Salade Composée Italienne - ordinarie, but good!! Dean had Dorade - he did not have order-envy..

Salade Italienne, with hot chevre on toast, anchovies, tuna and salami - a light supper.

Hilarious that they think putting a spot of sauce in the eye makes it look less shocking.

We did not get out the camera last night at Astier, although I was seldom more tempted.  We found this restaurant in Fodor's and took their advice.  The whole meal was excellent, but it was the cheese tray that stole the show.  A 16" diameter platter carrying 18 different French cheeses was brought to the table, between the main course and desert.  I would likely not have tried most of these under other circumstances, crusted with weird looking molds and oozing out of their skins as they were, but I took the leap and must now become a cheese snob.  I also discovered, via a guinea fowl stuffed with a mixture made from the giblets, that liver (of tiny birds) is lovely, and white pepper has its place in the world after all! I also discovered yesterday that a good pork loin stuffed with a single chorizo is a fine lunch after a morning of Rodin.  Although Dean's pave de lieu faune (fancy bistro term for Pollack) also looked like a good choice.

Not an optical illusion - the stairs really are like this.
This trip has made me face one of my most persistent fears, daily. That being the fear of death by falling - down a staircase in particular.  Our apartment is lovely, modern, clean, warm and bright.  But the buidling itself is in real need of reepair.  The staircase and landings are truly terrifying, and not just a small bit dangerous. The stair case appears to be falling inward, and the stairs themselves are worn by decades ( maybe centuries) of feet to such an extent that they tip both laterally and horizontally.  The result is a staircase that could have been designed by Dali.  Day by day I am becoming accustomed to leaving the apartment and stepping onto a tiled landing that slides away from the door is if to hurl you down the stairs.  The worst parts of the stairs are on the inside, but the outside edges have no rails in places, and in others the rails are pulling out of the plaster.  Oh well - maybe by the end of the visit I will have concurred my fear and leave here a new woman, sure on her feet.

And finally, a few pictures I took in the Rodin Museum.  We were very lucky to be there on a sunny day, and you can get ridiculously close to these sumptuous sculptures.

The Kiss

Eternal Icon

Two great thinkers.

Not Rodin.  This is an Egyptian piece (circa 300-350 BC) Rodin owned.